New chapel construction raises sizeable concerns

Construction has begun on the new chapel, which is expected to reach completion in the spring of 2004. However, some members of the campus community have voiced displeasure with the limited size of the new building.

The new chapel will be shared by the Catholic, Protestant, Jewish and Islamic ministries, as well as be used for secular activities.

According to Joan Fasulo-Harris, the project architect for the new building, this structure will have non-fixed seating for up to 150 people in the main sanctuary, with room for an additional 25 people in the meditation room.

Rev. Gabriel Zeis, Catholic Campus Minister for the College, said the new chapel is too small to accommodate the number of students who want to attend Mass.

According to Zeis, Saturday evening and Sunday morning Masses will be held in the new chapel after its completion, however the structure will be unable to house the 300 or more people who sometimes attend Sunday evening mass.

This mass will remain in the Travers/Wolfe main lounge.

“I mentioned what I thought of the size during the planning but it wasn’t really taken to heart,” Zeis said. “It’s the only negative, but it’s a big one.”

“The new chapel seems pointless to build if Sunday night mass, the biggest one, will still be in T/W,” Laura Giannella, sophomore English secondary education major, said.

According to Zeis, other students who are members of the Catholic Campus Ministries (CCM) program are displeased with the size of the new chapel.

“What can I say, other than you can’t look a gift chapel in the mouth,” Zeis said.

The Board of Trustees announced plans for the new chapel in the summer of 2001.

The new chapel will cost $1,875,000 and according to Fasulo-Harris, “will be funded through operating costs.”

Fasulo-Harris said that the new chapel is of traditional architectural design that matches the rest of buildings on campus.

According to Fasulo-Harris, the new chapel will include a main sanctuary, three counseling rooms and a more private meditation room.

The meditation room will have access to a patio and garden, which will overlook Lake Silva.

The Alumni Meditation Chapel occupies the site where the new library will be built.

According to Fasulo-Harris, the old chapel will be demolished within the next few months, as soon as the contractor for the new library begins to excavate that area of the campus.

According to Fasulo-Harris, relocating instead of knocking down the old chapel was considered.

However, she said, the final decision was that “a new and more useful structure would be in the best long-term interests of the College and student body.”

According to Zeis, CCM is paying a carpenter to build an altar for the new chapel, using wood from the beams of the old chapel.

“This is a very nice way to tie some of the old chapel to the new one,” Zeis said.

He added that stained glass will be taken out of the old chapel and placed in the new building’s meditation garden.

According to Fasulo-Harris, the remaining stained glass will be made into an interior window design for the new library.

She added that a cornerstone of the new chapel will contain “a sealed box with mementos from the old chapel.”